Mark Terry

Friday, October 19, 2007

What I've Been Reading

October 19, 2007
Here's a list with the occasional comment of the last handful or two of books I've read.

Patriot Acts by Greg Rucka
I liked this one a lot. About a high-level bodyguard, it takes place almost instantaneously after the previous book, Critical Space, then takes place over about four years. Seems to be the end of a series.

Motor Mouth by Janet Evanovich
Light, funny, silly, fluff. Perfect book to read by the lake, which is what I did.

The Chemistry of Death by Simon Beckett
One of my favorite books of the year and for a debut novel, quite dazzling. He takes the forensic thriller, takes it to England, then twists it again by putting it essentially into a rural small town. Sad, intriguing and, I felt, remarkable.

Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child
What can you say about Lee Child's books? If you like his kind of book (if you like his, you'll like mine, I think) which is full of violence and mayhem and decent mysteries--I pretty much had this one figured out a third of the way th rough--then you'll like his Jack Reacher novels. This one is good.

Dead Watch by John Sandford
I re-read this one-off by Sandford. Same crisp writing and interesting characterizations, but the main character is a political consultant, a fixer of sorts, and I like it. A lot.

The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi
Sci-Fi and a good one of the military/space opera subgenre. When a leading Colonial Forces scientist defects and turns traitor, the CF discovers the scientist, who was the leading expert on "consciousnes transfer" left his own consciousness in a computer, they transfer his consciousness into the brain of one of their ghost brigades, CF special forces soldiers who are genetically engineered, fast-grown and imprinted with all the knowledge they need to fight wars. The consciousness transfer doesn't seem to work, so the soldier is put into the ghost brigades... until memories start coming to him. Really excellent, but I recommend you read Old Man's War by Scalzi first.

Rebel Island by Rick Riordan
I've reviewed this already, but I enjoyed it.

The Wheel of Darkness by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
These guys are always good, but this one left me a little cold. I'm not a huge Agent Prendergast fan although I recognize just how daring they were in creating a main character as odd as him--a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, I think--but typically he works with somebody the reader can better relate to. In this case that's a problem. Interesting and entertaining, though.

Red Cat by Joe Spiegelman
A PI novel in New York City, pretty much reminded me of Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder novels. I don't remember the character's name now, but he's hired by his brother, who picks up women through the personals ads and has flings. Now one of his flings is threatening to blackmail him. When she ends up dead, his brother is the main suspect. A very enjoyable novel for PI fans.

Dead Heat by Dick Francis & Felix Francis
A good, solid read. Not Francis's best, but not his worst and I enjoyed the hell out of it.

Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
Loved it.

Outsourced by RJ Hillhouse
Oh boy. Talk about topical. David Morrell's blurb suggests it's fiction that reads like nonfiction. Yeah, it's a spy thriller, military thriller about a company very similar to Blackwater. It's laden, and I mean really, really filled with details about how these outsourcing military operations work. My problem with the book besides the "faction" tone was that when I got to the end I felt like the two main characters were so odd that I'd never really run into anybody like them before--ever. And I've known a few military people and the occasional spook. And the ending left me grinding my teeth a bit, but that's a separate issue that has more to do with my philosophies than any faults with the book. Worth reading, but a bit of a cold puzzle at times.

Dirty Martini by JA Konrath
I thought Joe and I were using the same outline that I used for THE SERPENT'S KISS. In this book, Lt. Jack Daniels is tracking a mass poisoner through Chicago. The humor seems muted, but the pace is spot-on. I have a few issues with overall characterization and the sort of over the top ending that seems somewhat out of keeping with the rest of the book, but it's an enjoyable read. I also feel like the character of Harry is becoming irreversibly cartoonish, but I'm probably just being hard on Joe because he's so much more successful than I am.

Dark of the Moon by John Sandford
Just finished this last night. Sandford's always reliable. This follows Minnesota State cop (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension) Virgil Flowers into the countryside to investigate a double-murder that rapidly escalates in the very small town of Bluestem. It's very good. I have a problem with a town this small and gossipy not already being aware of what's going on, but I thought the main character's approach to things was refreshing and the writing, as usual, is so crisp and clear and pungent that it overwhelms any story deficiencies. Neat trick, if you can pull it off.

Mark Terry


Anonymous Jim Hall said...

Interesting list, you should check out the new Michael Marshall book THE INTRUDERS. It's an interesting mix of mystery and horror and sci- fi. His first book STRAWMEN was creepy!

7:46 AM  
Blogger spyscribbler said...

I'm liking Outsourced, but the whole woman who wants to be a man thing was a bit off-putting to me. Whether or not it's realistic, I prefer even the most kick-ass heroines to be confident because of their gender, not in spite of it. Just my little pet peeve, LOL.

9:45 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

They both seemed to spend so much time operating on adrenaline entirely because they were adrenaline junkies I figured they would have been dead long before the events in the book.

And, like I said, I wasn't satisfied by the ending. She was going for the twist with the two factions being run by 2 gov't agencies, but what struck me was how Hunter suddenly discovers, like, morals, and after Abu Ghraib I'm not inclined to think much of any private outsourcing company that says, "Oh, I hate prisons, but there's a lot of money in them, so I'll blackmail the government into letting me run an overseas prison for me."

That might be a personal opinion in my part, but I had some issues with the fact she was as much of a problem as everybody else over there. Disturbing, I guess.

10:10 AM  

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